Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's broke. Time to fix it. Article #3

It's broke . . .

This article will have some reference material from our country's founders. Please do not skim over it; it is necessary to make my point. And I did try to be brief. And as you read, I'm sure you will understand that one of the ways to "fix it" is:

Term limits for all elected officials. If it is good enough for the President, it is good enough for them!

From Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States:

3.1 The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, FOR SIX YEARS; and each Senator shall have one vote. (emphasis added)

3.2 Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class SHALL BE VACATED at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, SO THAT ONE THIRD MAY BE CHOSEN EVERY SECOND YEAR; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies. (emphasis added)

(Note: 3.1 was changed in the 17th Amendment to show that they were to be elected by the people of each state thereof, and not by the legislature.)

Federalist Paper #63, concerning the possibility of the senate being transformed into a "tyrannical aristocracy", argued that by holding an election every two years would bring NEW individuals to the body, ONE-THIRD of the members, thereby preventing a tyrannical and corrupt Senate by the very vacating of the members. Federalist Paper #64 argues that the knowledge gained by the body would be maintained by the TWO-THIRDS that remain every two-year election cycle, thereby keeping the "wisdom" of the Senate that we hear is so important.

My point? The writers of the above documents NEVER IMAGINED LIFE MEMBERS like Byrd, Kennedy, Kucinich, etc. The word "incumbent" was not a term they recognized. If they did, their arguments against a corrupt Senate would have been meaningless. They saw only ONE-TERM Senators. That's it. No more.

What do we have today? A clearly corrupt Legislative Branch of the government. A group only concerned with their own agendas and NO LONGER ANSWERABLE to the people.

Don't agree with me? Really? C'mon. Didn't you stay up and watch all of the back slapping on CSPAN as they PROUDLY voted in ObamaCare?

Sure, there is an election every two years, but honestly, have you tried to wade through all of the mud to find what is truth about the candidates? Refer to Article #1 of this series (below) to see how difficult it is to even discern the voting records of these bozos.

If the founders would have known what Congress would have become, I'm sure they would have felt obliged to explicitly spell it out! Apparently, they felt the members of THAT society were more honorable. Of course, they didn't have all of the cushy benefits of staying in office like they have voted themselves today!

I'm making the point with just reference to the Senate. Again, these are to be quick articles. It would take quite a few more keystrokes, and liquid stabilizer, to go into areas such as the Supreme Court. But rest assured, as I've read through the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, the first reference to a "re-election" of an official was of the President. If the concept was even a consideration, it would have been mentioned when discussing the House of Representatives and the Senate as well.

By the way, the Congress passed the 22nd Amendment on March 21, 1947, limiting the President to two terms of four years. I would love the Congress to pass such an amendment concerning themselves. Shouldn't people like Nancy Pelosi, champion of the most non-corrupt government, lead the charge? The founders believed it to be a way to curb corruption. I'm thinking they were right!

. . . time to fix it!

©Emittravel 2010


  1. I actually agree that their should be term limits. But James Madison (who wrote the Fed Papers and signed the Constitution) was re-elected several times in the house wasn't he? He is listed as a member of the House in the first congress (89) to the fourth (97). I know Few did the same and John Dickinson was in two different (consecutive) congresses but for different states.

    I guess my point is that it could not have been their wish that there were no re elections since they often were.

  2. CentFla (yo Alan!):

    Thank you for your comment. I'm glad the article struck you enough to provide feedback. I don't write expecting everyone to agree with me; when people disagree that means they are thinking. Thus the goal!

    I've seen the concept of term limits floating around for several years. Every once in awhile a Congressman will float one up like a weather balloon to test the climate, but never with the urgency of changing anything. The article was designed to take a stab at WHY there should be limits. My focus was on the Senate just to make the point. As it reads very plainly in the Constitution, "The seats of the Senators of the first class SHALL BE VACATED at the expiration of the second year…" The word "vacated" really struck me. At my job, whenever we have a fire drill, the Fire Marshall does a sweep of the building. If anyone is still in the building we fail the test. It must be vacated. That means emptied. No one is allowed to remain behind.

    The House of Representatives were to be composed of members chosen every two years by the people of the United States (see Article 1, Section 2). The Senate was to be composed of members chosen by the legislature. Initially, the difference was pretty obvious: elections by the people had the potential for "popularity" and desire to stick with "the devil you know", whereas the legislature would have to follow the legality of vacating and selecting new. Maybe the quick solution would be the overturning of the 17th Amendment and place the selection of the Senate back in the hands of the legislature. The focus of the Federalist writings mentioned were to maintain purity in the Legislative branch, and avoid the temptation of tyranny.

    The President was allowed to be re-elected every four years. No term limits were prescribed. George Washington was begged to run for a third term but declined. He felt that if he were to run a third term that it would be dangerously close to implementing the Aristocracy of the King of England - a comparison commonly mentioned as a concern. It took until 1947 for an Amendment to be added to actually limit those terms.

    By the way, James Madison did serve in the House of Representatives (not the Senate) for two terms, but representing two different districts. He is also one of three authors of the Federalist Papers (along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay).

    I think the INTENT of the argument from the Federalist Papers, as describing the Constitution, is still valid. Whether or not the members all followed the arguments to the letter or not.

    Thanks again for commenting! I hope that this blog keeps those synapses firing!!